More than one music journalist has dubbed this art-rock trio a "supergroup . . . of sorts." Basically, that's just industry shorthand for "a side project featuring musicians from two or more obscure but critically admired bands that have never sniffed the Billboard Hot 100." In other words, they ain't The Raconteurs, but they ain't the Jerkwater All-Stars, neither. The group consists of lead composer Freddy Ruppert (he of the one-man industrial-electronic entity This Song Is a Mess But So Am I) and two other noted sonic innovators: Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu and Nika Roza of Zola Jesus. Together, they make angular yet oddly tuneful synth-dominated noise that variously recalls the Dream Academy and mid-'80s 4AD acts like Cabaret Voltaire. On "Us and Now," the hypnotic lead track from the upcoming debut album Fleur, Ruppert strikes a Peter Murphy pose:all distortion crooning and posh melancholy. This supergroup-of-sorts started playing L.A. gigs earlier this year but is only now embarking on its first official "tour," a monthlong, nationwide odyssey that begins right here in Phoenix and ends on Halloween in L.A. The album drops on October 20, just in time for their date in the wet climes of Spokane, Washington.
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